Enamel matrix derivative protects human gingival fibroblasts from TNF-induced apoptosis by inhibiting caspase activation

E. Zeldich, R. Koren, M. Dard, C. Nemcovsky, M. Weinreb

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Emdogain®, a formulation of enamel matrix derivative (EMD), is used clinically for regeneration of the periodontium (tooth supporting tissues), but the molecular mechanisms of its action have not been elucidated. Several clinical studies suggested that EMD may also improve gingival healing after periodontal surgery and thus affect the fate of gingival fibroblasts (GFs). Since these cells are targets for local inflammatory mediators such as TNF, a pro-apoptotic cytokine, during the course of periodontal disease, we tested whether EMD protects human GFs (hGFs) from TNF-induced cytotoxicity. Quiescent primary hGFs were challenged with TNF (10-100 ng/ml) with or without EMD (100 μg/ml) pretreatment. Cell viability was assessed by neutral red staining, cell death by LDH release and apoptosis by caspase activity. Signaling pathways were evaluated by Western blotting and pharmacological inhibitors. TNF induced classical signs of apoptosis in hGFs, including typical cellular morphology and increased caspase activity. TNF-induced cytotoxicity was entirely caspase-dependent. Pretreatment (4-24 h) with EMD dramatically inhibited the activation of initiator and executioner caspases and enhanced hGF survival. Although TNF induced the activation of p38 MAPK, JNK, ERK and PI-3K signaling, these pathways were not crucial for EMD protection of hGFs. However, EMD increased the levels of c-FLIPL, an anti-apoptotic protein located upstream of caspase activation. These data demonstrate, for the first time, that EMD protects hGFs from inflammatory cytokines and, together with our recent reports that EMD stimulates rat and human GF proliferation, could help explain the mechanisms whereby in vivo use of EMD promotes gingival healing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)750-758
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2007


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